By in Random

Looking back

I have been shuttling around this mortal coil for half a century now (I know ancient) and I was thinking about all the things that have changed during my lifetime that really changed lives.

An obvious starting point is the television. when we were children it was in black and white and there the first colour televisions came in and whole streets would cram into someone's house to see this new miracle. I remember when we first got our colour television - we had visits from all of the neighbours over a week or so for spurious reasons because they couldn't just come out and say they wanted to see the colour television. One of my friends used to save the coloured see-through paper from sweets and watch her black ad white television through those lol. We didn't think anything about it back then.

Then the remote controls came - wired ones at first (lol kept tripping my brother up with ours), the switches changed from rotating knobs the size of those on a family cooker to push buttons. My granddad had one of the first televisons with 'touch sensitive' controls - damn thing changed channel every time someone jangled change or keys. The wiring meant that you had to sit in one particular place to be able to change the channels which Granddad promptly claimed as his seat and we had to endure so many gardening programmes with the phrase 'sit down and shut up, you'll enjoy this', hmmm not quite Granddad. Now we are lazy and change the channel all the time with the doohickey (remote) and will cross a room to fetch the remote when the tv is closer. Televisions got bigger and bigger and yet now they are smaller than ever (depth wise) and some even fit on a wrist whilst others are large enough to cover the side of a house.

I have to say communication and the internet are also huge changes. When I was a child we were considered snobs because our telephone wasn't a party line (the same number for two or more houses - you could only use it when your neighbour wasn't - weird). From there we went to the eighties when I was working in London and unfortunately had to carry the brick of an early mobile phone so they could contact me when I was out of the office. I hated that thing it was almost the size of a shoe box and weighed a tonne.

Getting hold of someone before that had usually meant writing to them and waiting a week or so for a reply. Now we send an email and can have a reply seconds later. Although at first it always seemed to take an awful lot longer than a few seconds. When we first went online at home in 1999, the internet connection would cut out every time someone phoned or basically if a pigeon farted within a twelve mile radius and it was soooooo slow. You could switch the pc on and go for a bath while it loaded! Now we complain if we have to wait a few seconds . For this change to have happened in such a short space of time is bordering on miraculous. Yet we take it all for granted and rarely step back to see the big picture and how much easier life is today in some ways.

The impact this has had on all other areas of our lives is phenomenal - look at how hospitals and doctors now have the access to test results within minutes via the wonders of the computer and the tablet. The police have instant access to the records of criminals and others thereby allowing them to know that certain people need keeping in a cell even if their 'crime' is on the border-line of stay and go.

The world is only an arm's length away from us now, all the good and bad of the world available for us to consume at the push of a few buttons - or even with our speech. This from a civilisation who only learned to fly a little over a century ago, now we're thinking of flying to space for a holiday.

I am really pleased for the effect technology has had on my life and I'm not afraid to say so. Does that make me a materialist? I don't think so but I'll leave you to judge.

I know thinking about it makes me feel really old but also really lucky. It does us good to stop and realise how lucky we are. So what is the main change that you have known?

Image Credit » picture is mine and all rights are reserved

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UK_Writer wrote on January 25, 2015, 5:10 PM

We had a telly when I was growing up, because dad could make them out of spare bits. Even so, we only ever had the one - having more than one telly wasn't something anybody did. We got our first phone when I was 10 - because we moved house and the new house had a phone installed from the last people.

Galeforcewinds wrote on January 25, 2015, 5:38 PM

I remember going with my father to the drug store and testing the "vacuum tubes" to see if they were bad so if they were, we could get another to "fix" the television.

arthurchappell wrote on January 25, 2015, 5:49 PM

the computer in the home - I remember having an old manual type-writer - t

arthurchappell wrote on January 25, 2015, 5:50 PM

then an Amstrad and then windows 95, 2000, xp, and now my laptop

Soonerdad3 wrote on January 25, 2015, 6:55 PM

I am a not quite old enough to remember the introduction of the color TV, but I do remember all of the rest you mentioned in your article.

oldies909 wrote on January 26, 2015, 12:02 AM

great article thanks for sharing

valmnz wrote on January 26, 2015, 6:18 AM

You'd taken me on a real trip down memory lane here! And why should you feel old, I don't.

Maplewinter wrote on January 26, 2015, 6:28 AM

The main thing that I have noticed is how gaming has changed. I remember having a ZX Spectrum when I was little. You had a tape with the game on and it took an age for the game to load and it was very basic. The graphics were minimal too and very simple. Things have just improved over time. We have owned a PS1, PS2, PS3, and now the Xbox 360. The graphics and how the games are played has become much more lifelike and they have the amazing ability of being able to play games alongside others in the world and you can communicate with these players.

scheng1 wrote on January 26, 2015, 8:14 AM

I recall the black and white TV too. Whenever the TV was not working, we would hit the top very hard to make it work.

Hollyhocks100 wrote on January 26, 2015, 10:56 AM

Your changes are all about technology, but what about the introduction of supermarkets where you helped yourself, even laundrettes and blow drying hair wasn´t even a twinkle in the eye when I was a little girl. And I can remember each being introduced and what excitement it caused.

mrsmerlin wrote on January 28, 2015, 2:27 PM

When I tell my kids that we only had one TV they look at me as though I am mad and as for entertaining ourselves, well I think they're just about ready to have committed, even though each of them has hobbies and interests that are not reliant on technical input.

mrsmerlin wrote on January 28, 2015, 2:29 PM

Yes they were huge and unwieldy but they were also quite easy to fix (even with a smack in the right spot if necessary) I wouldn't be able to get past unscrewing the back of a modern one

mrsmerlin wrote on January 28, 2015, 2:31 PM

I love old typewriters. I was trained to type on an old manual with blank key so I had to learn to touch type, even now people often comment on the fact that I can be typing and looking at something else because I don't need to check the keys - its predictive text that trips me up

mrsmerlin wrote on January 28, 2015, 2:31 PM

almost the same for me but we also took the commodore 600 and 1200 route

mrsmerlin wrote on January 28, 2015, 2:33 PM

I think I must have been about nine when we got our first colour TV based on which house we were living in at the time

mrsmerlin wrote on January 28, 2015, 2:35 PM

I think its the way that my children and grandchildren react when I talk of something from my childhood and how I remember some of the things they take for granted being in science fiction when I was young. Life imitating art

mrsmerlin wrote on January 28, 2015, 2:37 PM

I remember the spectrum - they are bringing out a simulator so that fans can regain the experience - somehow I think people will be upset to find just how slow and bad it was lol.

mrsmerlin wrote on January 28, 2015, 2:37 PM

lol I just mentioned that on a comment - a sharp tap to the side just above middle 'fixed' ours for years until the 'tube' eventually blew

mrsmerlin wrote on January 28, 2015, 2:40 PM

I agree, and I think that is one of the things I love of living in the country in that we still have old fashioned shops with assistants who have time to chat and understand their customers. We used to dry our hair sitting in front of the open fire, I hadn't thought about it being because there were no hair dryers but thinking at it now I can remember thinking that the hairdresser was magic for making my mom's hair dry so quickly